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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Annals of Russia's Demographic Horror

The BEARR Trust reports:

The World Bank and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have held a two day conference entitled ‘The Fight against Non-infectious Illnesses and Injuries in the Commonwealth of Independent States’ (CIS).

According to the WHO’s statistics, life expectancy in the CIS is on average 11 years shorter than in the EU because of the frequent incidence of circulatory diseases and cancer, and drinking/smoking. For example, the average life expectancy for males in Russia is 58, which is twenty years shorter than in Sweden. David Leon, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, takes the view that the majority of deaths amongst men of working age could be prevented by diminishing the amount of smoking and alcohol abuse. He says that in Russia 33% of men and 35% of women aged between 35 and 69 die because of heavy smoking. Smoking causes circulatory diseases and is twice as likely to kill as cancer.

‘In order to reduce the number of smokers,’ maintains David Leon, ‘Russia should sign and ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and also set out national priorities, including:

  • increasing taxes on sales of tobacco
  • controls on smoking in public
  • restrictions on advertising.’
Turning to the problem of alcoholism, he observed that around 40% of men in the CIS between 15 and 29 years of age are susceptible to alcohol poisoning (cf around 20% in Europe). ‘It is essential to alter the mindset of people who think that alcohol abuse is part of life,’ says the professor. ‘Moreover, a reduction in consumption may be brought about by increasing the price of alcohol, reducing the number of retail outlets and imposing controls over sales to young people.’

1 comment:

Misha said...

In today’s WSWS, the Left Opposition critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin take aim… The article charts the increase in pro-socialist sentiment and class consciousness among Russia's working class.

Strike at Russian Ford plant—a sign of renewed struggle by Russian workers

By Vladimir Volkov

Workers at the Ford auto plant in Vsevolozhsok, in the St. Petersburg district, carried out a one-day warning strike on November 6—the eve of the 90th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution. The action was symptomatic of a renewal of militant struggle by the Russian working class...

See the WSWS Article for the whole story.